The other day Barack Obama said:
Instead of worrying about whether immigrants can learn English, they will learn English. You need to make sure your child can speak Spanish.
Why Spanish Mr. Obama? Granted that my area has quite a few Hispanic people. When I took my Little Guy to the bus stop for kindergarten, I couldn’t communicate with most of the other mothers because I don’t speak Spanish and they didn’t speak English.
We also have large populations of immigrants from other countries as well. There are more than 3,000 Indian families in the area, enough that a large Hindu temple was built a year ago. We also have good sized populations of Ukrainian, Russian, and Romanian immigrants.
I once worked with a man who had immigrated from Germany. He proudly became a citizen two years ago. He once said, “What is this press 2 for Spanish? Where is press 3 for German?”
When the Little Guy was being tested prior to entering Kindergarten, we were waiting in line in check in. The woman in front of me spoke with an accent, so the woman from the school district asked if she needed a bilingual aide. I’ll never forget the woman’s response.
We are Romanian. We speak English.
All the bilingual aides provided by the school district speak Spanish. No Romanian.
Our country is vast in size. When I was in Europe, one day I was in five different countries. I started in the Netherlands, and drove into Belgium, Luxembourg, and France, before ending up in Germany. It can be difficult to be in five different states in one day here.
English is the language of business. I have seen people from different countries speaking English to each other as a common language.
If I were to immigrate to another country, I would be expected to learn the language of that country. So do many immigrants here (such as my German friend and the Romanian mother and others I have worked with from Ukraine, Russia, Hungary, Japan, India, and Romania).
I was married the first time in Germany. I had to hire, at my own expense, a state approved translator for the wedding ceremony. The clerk who performed the ceremony spoke English, but the ceremony is in German and we were required to have a translator as we were not fluent in German, although we were able to get along “on the economy” as necessary.
English should be the official language of this country.
The Anchoress has a bit more on what Barack Obama had to say the other day.